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Interesting article:

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/sto...2031D-F731-4A95-9732-9D4EB7911E81}&dist=msr_1

Lance Armstrong's ghost hangs over TV deal
Commentary: Comcast's Versus bets on the Tour de France

By MarketWatch
Last update: 8:54 a.m. EDT June 9, 2008NEW YORK (MarketWatch) --

When cycling icon Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour de France year after year, the sport received splashy headlines in the United States. But with Armstrong and his star power in retirement and doping concerns hitting the sport, it's unclear whether the grueling race can continue to captivate American television audiences.

Versus cable-TV unit is gambling that the Tour can overcome Armstrong's absence -- and the stigma of a doping scandal. The 2006 champion, Floyd Landis, lost his crown when he flunked a drug test.

Versus has struck a five-year, $27.5 million U.S. broadcast agreement with Amaury Sport Organisation, which oversees the Tour, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the negotiations. Details of the pact, which includes English-language rights in Canada, were expected to be disclosed on Monday.

The move carries a relatively low price tag but still represents a big risk. In the U.S., second-tier spectator sports, such as ice hockey, have taken a ratings beating in recent years. American viewers have remained fixated with the likes of such mainstays as pro football, college basketball's annual March Madness tournament, golf and Nascar.

In the absence of Armstrong's iconic presence, the sponsors must fall back on a strong marketing campaign to arouse interest in cycling. The doping taint complicates their task.

The Journal reported that there's a new multi-platform advertising campaign in the works called "Take Back the Tour," intended to get viewers and fans to rally around the sport.

Sure, a snappy Madison Avenue ad campaign can't hurt. But without Lance Armstrong's star power, cycling will face an uphill climb.

-- Jon Friedman
 

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I wish VS would take it another step and go all the way with it with offering FULL daily coverage of ALL the top races, including spring classics, three GT's, WC, US champs, etc. Sure, it sounds like alot, but i'd watch every minute.
The Giro this year was outstanding, and it would be difficult for the Tour to surpass the Giro with drama, difficult stages, and so many contenders.
Of course, there's always drama preceding the Tour.
 

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America's team?

I think High Road and Slipstream are both in the tour, so they included both American teams.. If you're referring to Astana, last time I cked, they are a Luxemburg team with a Kazacastan (SP) sponsor and have two Americans, so they aren't America's team to say the least.. CSC is an American company, but isn't considered an American team, although, it does have I think two Americans..
 

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jhamlin38 said:
I wish VS would take it another step and go all the way with it with offering FULL daily coverage of ALL the top races, including spring classics, three GT's, WC, US champs, etc. Sure, it sounds like alot, but i'd watch every minute.
The Giro this year was outstanding, and it would be difficult for the Tour to surpass the Giro with drama, difficult stages, and so many contenders.
Of course, there's always drama preceding the Tour.
Heck, Id take an hour a night "recap" during the GTs, even late night after the NHL game concludes.
 

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Mosovich said:
I think High Road and Slipstream are both in the tour, so they included both American teams.. If you're referring to Astana, last time I cked, they are a Luxemburg team with a Kazacastan (SP) sponsor and have two Americans, so they aren't America's team to say the least.. CSC is an American company, but isn't considered an American team, although, it does have I think two Americans..
Hence, the "quotes".
 

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I'd like to see Versus help cycling.tv really deliver a usable, consistent IPTV product for cycling events. I can understand that on broadcast TV, even on cable, that the audience for cycling may not be sufficient to justify the cost. I would hope that not to be the case, but I can understand that such might be the case. But I would also think that cycling is a perfect product for IPTV. I work in a networking company and everyone in the industry talks of IPTV, internet based services, etc. Perhaps Versus can help cycling.tv get its act together. I think that is the future of coverage for cycling.
 

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madvax said:
For us cycling.tv Canadian subscribers this may not be good news at all.
If VS the tv channel covers Paris-Roubaix, Dauphiné Libéré etc. does this mean that Canadians won't be able to see these races on their computers? This year's Giro sunday stages were completely blacked out on cycling.tv
VS the TV channel isn't even an option for us living north of the border.
 
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